Homemade Chicken Stock
Let the games begin! It’s definitely on now. You can feel it when you go to the store or even anywhere near a mall of any sort. The Christmas craze has begun. I don’t do the Black Friday thing. I know a lot of people love it for the sales or the sport and some people even go to people watch. I definitely think it’s one of those things that you either love it or hate it. I am firmly planted in the hate it category. I wouldn’t go if they were giving the stuff away free! And that’s no exaggeration. Over the Thanksgiving holiday we went to visit my husband’s family. It’s been several years since we spent Thanksgiving with them and it was wonderful! We realized how much we miss them all! What did you all do? Black Friday? Any crazy stories? Do tell…I’d love to hear.
Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for homemade chicken stock that will knock your socks off! Especially with Christmas coming and so much cooking being done, it’s a great idea to get a good stock in the fridge. It’ll make everything you put it in taste better! So many things require a good stock and so many other things are made better if you use a good stock, whether it be chicken, veggie or even a shrimp or seafood stock depending on what you’re cooking. By the way, the chicken can be omitted and this makes a wonderful vegetable stock as well.
When I’m cooking rice, I use chicken stock instead of water. When I’m cooking pasta, I use chicken stock. Anything that needs a little extra liquid, I grab the chicken stock. You can buy pretty good stock and even good organic ones at the store but there’s really no substitute for homemade chicken stock.
I have a 16 quart gumbo pot that we bought several years ago because when we make gumbo it’s in huge quantities. But after all these yummy, fresh, preferably organic ingredients go in and take up most of the room you get about 7-8 quarts of liquid. However, my pot was to the rim! I even posted a picture to my Facebook and it got the most views all week of any of my posts.
The stock can be frozen in small containers for a later use but I find I use mine constantly and normally don’t freeze it. However, remember this post on cooking tips? I showed you how to easily freeze two tablespoon portions of buttermilk for future uses because it goes bad so quickly. A sweet commenter and I determined we needed something larger than two tablespoons for stock because you always need more than that for a recipe but it makes no sense to thaw the entire thing. Well, I found some small Rubbermaid containers that look like they hold about a cup and a half which would be perfect if you won’t be using all the stock in five days or so. The key here is to NOT let it spoil. You’ll know why when you try it! I promise.
So, I take my big pot and put three roasting hens in the bottom. Make sure you pull out the neck and giblet pack in the cavity first and throw it away unless you have another use for it. No judgment here but I don’t! I added LOTS of wonderful fresh veggies and herbs. I try when I can to buy organic. Any thing that you consume the flesh of, you should attempt organic whenever possible. Like an apple. It really disturbs me when I see one of my kids grabbing an apple or other fruit and NOT WASHING IT FIRST! I used to tell my daughter she might as well grab some Raid and douse it before she takes a bite. Fruits and vegetables with a tough rind that has to be peeled or anything that has protected flesh is less important but just humor me and get organic if possible. I also use filtered water in my stock. I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes thinking I’m a little overboard and that’s ok. I’m off the soapbox now.
Look at these awesome herbs? I can just smell them from here!
Pile in your list of ingredients and cover it in water, put the lid on and let it go! It needs to cook about three hours at a simmer. You also get this nice little surprise. Your kitchen and entire house smells incredible! When you’re finished just strain out the ingredients, let it cool completely and skim off the excess fat that comes to the top to harden. If you don’t have a fat separator, let it cool and then put it in the fridge so that the layer of fat turns hard and you can scrape it off easily. The tool that I use is a No Spill Gravy Separator from Williams Sonoma. This is not a sponsored post. I just love Williams Sonoma and this little guy works perfectly. It’s glass and has mesh strainer on top. You do have to work in batches but it’s worth it to have such a low fat but crazy flavorful homemade chicken stock when you need it. Plus you can use it on anything you want to separate the fat like making drawn butter.
You can try and use the chicken if you like but it’s pretty mushy. Maybe we could make a ground chicken salad with it? I’ll try that next time and let you know. The vegetables are shot, too although the mushy carrots were good to me. Seal it in something airtight and refrigerate. Now, every time you start to make anything, stop yourself and ask if it could use some of your stock. Anything you’re going to boil, the answer is probably yes!
- 3 medium size roasting hens (approximately 5 pounds)
- 3-4 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
- 2 leaks, cut into thirds
- 6-8 carrots, unpeeled and cut into thirds
- 4 large parsnips, unpeeled and cut into thirds
- 4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
- 20 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 20 sprigs fresh thyme
- 30 sprigs fresh dill
- 1 head of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns (I use multi color but black is fine)
- 7 quarts filtered water
- Place chickens in the bottom of a large stock pot.
- Rinse onions, parsley, thyme and dill and place them in the pot on top of the hens.
- Scrub carrots, celery and parsnips, cut and place in pot.
- Rinse leaks several times under cold running water to remove any grit and place in pot.
- Top with salt and peppercorns and filtered water.
- Bring it to a boil, place lid on top and lower to a simmer for 4 hours.
- Once cool enough to handle, strain the entire contents through a strainer, removing the chickens and vegetables and discard.
- Skim the fat and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 4 months.
What can you use this Homemade Chicken Stock for during this Christmas holiday? Do you have a favorite recipe?